HP Photosmart R717
Review Date: May 19th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
The HP Photosmart R717 continues a recent trend in the digital camera industry of taking an existing successful design, upgrading the megapixel count and releasing it as a brand new model. There really is very little difference between the R717 and its award-winning predecessor, the R707. The main change is the upgrade from 5 to 6 megapixels. While this allows for marginally bigger prints, it does result in slightly noisier images at ISO 200 and faster, plus there's slightly more evidence of chromatic aberrations in the form of purple fringing in high-contrast areas. The LCD screen is the other main change, now being 1.8 inches in size rather than 1.5 inches. In an age of 2.5 inch screens, this change just about keeps the R717 competitive in this aspect of design, but only just.
With a price tag of under £200 / $300 the 6 megapixel HP Photosmart R717 is still something of a bargain. With a stylish and extremely well-built exterior, the HP Photosmart R717 impresses from the moment that you take it out of the box. From a usability point of view, this camera is a winner, with both the external controls and the menu system being very easy to use. Together with the unique built-in help system, this makes the HP Photosmart R717 one of the easiest to use digicams on the market and therefore perfect for anyone who is looking to buy their first camera. Importantly, HP haven't neglected image quality either, with a good set of test images and clever features like Adaptive Lighting that actually work really well.
As with the HP Photosmart R717, there are a few niggles that you should be aware of on the R717. The 39–117mm lens isn't exactly wide-angle, the battery takes 5-7 hours to recharge and there is no camera dock or memory card supplied with the standard kit. Thankfully the auto white balance issue that affected the R707 seems to have been rectified on the R717. Overall the HP Photosmart R717 delivers a lot of looks and functionality for not a lot of money, and still makes a perfect point and shoot camera for the majority of users.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the HP Photosmart R717 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.